Folk Roots Radio Episode 634: We’re All About The Music! (High Road Hope-Filled Edition)

Folk Roots Radio Episode 634: We’re All About The Music! (High Road Hope-Filled Edition)

Join us on Episode 634 of Folk Roots Radio for another hour of great new music with a set of songs that sound just so good together. This time around we check out new releases from Kristen Martell, Kim Beggs, Aoife O’Donovan, Mariel Buckley, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, Fortunate Ones, George Woodhouse & The Public Service, Rob Heath, Orville Peck, Nelson Little, Melanie Peterson, The Slocan Ramblers, David Myles, Oysterband, String Bone and Dennis Ellsworth. Remember, if you like what you hear on Folk Roots Radio… and want to support the artists… don’t just stream their music, BUY their music and then you’ll really make a difference to their income during this difficult time, when live show opportunities are harder to come by. Check out the full playlist below.

Best 2020

Show Notes

We started off the episode with “Should I Run”, the new single from Nova Scotia’s Kristen Martell. It’s a song about the desire we all have, to dissociate from what’s going on in times of stress and conflict. You will be able to find it on Kristen’s upcoming record “Every Season” which is being produced by fellow singer-songwriter Gabrielle Papillon.

“I wrote this song during a time when I started to become conscious of my habit of zoning out. At some point in my life I learned it was easier to hide and numb my emotions than to speak up and be heard. It’s a common trauma response and I’m only now starting to uncover how it has influenced all aspects of my life.”

“Steel and Wool” is the latest album from Yukon based singer-songwriter Kim Beggs. Her sixth recording, the album that came together after a trip to Nashville to write with other songwriters. The title track is all about the artist’s drive to create, no matter the challenges.

“Despite the changes in music sales to the model of streaming and its negative impact on livelihoods, artists are still driven more by the need to write and create and share. With housing shortages – both in rental and home ownership, in cities like Nashville – all the way to Dublin Ireland, the cost of living in these music centres is starting to become prohibitive. But as many of us know, we don’t always choose this life – it chooses us – from songwriters to DJs to venues, for all of us in this business – it’s a drive we all know too well.”

Aoife O’Donovan reflects on the nature of existence on “Passengers” from her latest album “Age Of Apathy”. It’s a song that also features Madison Cunningham on lead electric guitar and vocals. Aoife O’Donovan will be at this year’s Hillside Festival which will back on the island at Guelph Lake (for the first time since 2019) from July 22-24.

“Shooting At The Moon” is the first single comes from “Everywhere I Used To Be”, the sophomore release from Alberta’s Mariel Buckley. It was written with Winnipeg based singer-songwriter Grant Davidson, who makes music under the name Slow Leaves.

“Shooting at the Moon is a fun little ripper of a song about the trials and tribulations of touring as a mid-level Canadian musician and battling with the inevitable ego of being somebody who works on stage. Snapshots of life on the road, long-distance romance and the ever-enduring underdog spirit that drives this tune, keeping feet on the ground and eyes on the prize.”

“The video (which was shot by Sebastian Buzzalino and edited by Mike Linton) tries to capture that feeling – the fervour and excitement of the road alongside the almost mundane repetition of set-up, tear down, driving and more driving. It aims to showcase the off-stage, less glamourous part of being a touring band.”

“Gobaith” is a beautiful instrumental from Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita. The welsh word for ‘hope’, you can find it on their third album together “ECHO”.

Catherine Allan and Andrew James O’Brien make music together as Newfoundland’s Fortunate Ones. They sing about the contentment you find living life in the moment on the lovely “Day to Day” from their new album “That Was You And Me”. This song was actually written while Andrew was recovering from hand surgery, during a period of time when he was unable to play guitar in a serious way.

“’Day to Day’ was written in the time it took to fry eggs in the silent pre-dawn dark of an early morning workday. I had taken a job at The Inn by Mallard Cottage where shifts often started before sunrise – each day back and forth across town to a job that had nothing to do with music. Deliberate time away allowed a creatively dry well to refill in it’s own time. Soon ideas began percolating. Early mornings alone at the front desk quietly strumming the guitar and no pressure to create became the catalyst for the clarity and space that gave Day to Day and many more songs the chance to be born. The song is a meditation on finding contentment in the mundane, and comfort in the routine – making genuine peace with the softening of the ego, and finding meaning in the day to day.” (Andrew James O’Brien)

Storytelling singer-songwriter George Woodhouse and his band the Public Service stand in solidarity with sisters everywhere on “Sister” from their debut album “Songs For The Living”, a new recording that they describe as telling the story of a soul’s journey through seasons of grief, loss, and impermanence without losing sight of the connection to home, family and… ultimately, hope.

Edmonton AB’s singer-songwriter Rob Heath has released a new album, “Biggest Moments”. Biggest Moments tells stories of random acts of kindness and of people doing what they can to help others.

“I’ve always been attracted to random acts of kindness. You know there’s a lot of bad things happening in the world now and you know people are tired of all the negativity out there. Most of the songs are about people at their best, people doing good things to each other.”

“Hexie Mountains” comes from “Bronco”, the new album from the mysterious Toronto based mask-wearing country singer-songwriter with the amazing voice, Orville Peck. We’d like to thank Erin Radio 91.7’s programme director Phil Taylor for pointing us in the direction of this great song.

Nelson Little is a three-time Manitoba Country Music Association award nominee and Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Award winner. His latest single, “High Road” was born out of helping his eldest son who had been struggling in school during Covid times, and a blinding realization that the best way to move forward when trying to come to terms with the impact that the pandemic has had on our lives is to avoid confrontation or debate and just take the high road…

Melanie Peterson reflects on how to find love and keep it on “Somebody’s Somebody” from her latest EP, “We Got This – Side Two” which is the follow to her 2020 EP “We Got This”. so it would appear that we now have both sides of a vinyl album.

“The song is about a breakup that happened years ago between two friends of mine. They both still hold on to the memory of that relationship and I believe it’s because ultimately, they are each other’s somebody.”

Now down to a trio after bassist Alistair Whitehead decided to step away from the band to spend more time on his family farm, The Slocan Ramblers (Frank Evans: Banjo/Vocals, Adrian Gross: Mandolin and Darryl Poulsen: Guitar/Vocals) have a new album out, “Up the Hill and Through the Fog”. The Toronto based bluegrass band will be appearing at the inaugural event for The Skol House in beautiful Belwood ON on July 1 at 6pm with support from Rich Burnett and Jesse Corrigan. GET TICKETS!

“Mystery” the latest single from genre-crossing singer-songwriter David Myles focuses on the hard to explain deep attraction that we can feel to someone or something. It’s from his forthcoming release “It’s Only A Little Loneliness” and features backing vocals from Reeny and Hailey Smith.

“This is a song about how often it’s the things we don’t understand about something or someone that draws us closer to it. Mystery can keep us coming back forever.”

Fabulous UK based folk-rock band Oysterband have just released their fourteenth album “Read The Sky”, their first album of new songs since 2014.

“Why Should I Try” is the latest single from Stratford ON based Barry James Payne who makes music as Americana / Folk artist String Bone. It’s from his forthcoming album “Coping Mechanisms” and features music from his long distance writing partner George Leger III and lyrics inspired by the Netflix series Lucifer.

“This song was initially brought to me by my good friend George Leger III. It was a chord progression with a very cool vibe, organ, kit, bass and electric rhythm. I put down a guitar lick, wrote the lyrics and hopefully told a story. George worked his magic and voila!”

“I had been watching a Netflix series (Lucifer), because I was learning about how to prepare music for film/TV through my friend and music educator Michèle Vice-Maslin and started researching various shows. I watched an interview with a music supervisor who mentioned the show among several others. I watched bits of all of them and this one really entertained me – it was ironic, funny, weird, informative, with good writing, a good soundtrack and decent acting/characters, etc. AND it was fantasy. A good Dramedy.”

We wrapped the episode up with Dennis Ellsworth and “Come Back To Me”, a song of ‘lost love’ he wrote in Toronto six years ago, with Ari Rhodes and Liam Titcomb. The song had been sitting waiting for the magic dust that would turn it into the finished article. Staying at home during the pandemic seemed to do the trick,and working with Adam Gallant in Charlottetown, and, now, with duet vocals from Rose Cousins, it’s out as a single.

That’s all we have time for. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have lots of great music and interviews to bring you on future episodes.

If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!

Stay safe and well everyone!

Image Credit: Dmitri Posudin from Pixabay.


You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)


Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

Kristen Martell
Should I Run
(single) (2022, Self) CDN

Kim Beggs
Steel And Wool
Steel And Wool (2022, Self) CDN

Aoife O’Donovan
Passengers (feat. Madison Cunningham)
Age Of Apathy (2022, Yep Roc)

Mariel Buckley
Shooting At The Moon
Everywhere I Used To Be (2022, Birthday Cake) CDN

Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
ECHO (2022, bendigedig)

Fortunate Ones
Day To Day
(single) (2022, Sonic Records) CDN

George Woodhouse & The Public Service
Songs For The Living (2022, Self) CDN

Rob Heath
Biggest Moments
Biggest Moments (2022, Self) CDN

Orville Peck
Hexie Mountains
Bronco (2022, Sub Pop / Columbia) CDN

Nelson Little
High Road
(single) (2022, Self) CDN

Melanie Peterson
Somebody’s Somebody
We Got This – Side Two (2022, Self) CDN

The Slocan Ramblers
Won’t You Come Back Home
Up The Hill And Through The Fog (2022, SloMusic) CDN

David Myles
Mystery (Embargo May 25)
(single) (2022, turtlemusik) CDN

Wonders Are Passing
Read The Sky (2022, Running Man Records / Proper)

String Bone
Why Should I Try
Coping Mechanisms (2022, Space Cowboy Records) CDN

Dennis Ellsworth
Come Back To Me (feat. Rose Cousins)
(single) (2022, Self) CDN

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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